Hi, it’s good as always to catch up and once again it’s good to sit down and find the time to write. The past couple of weeks has been tough for me and if you are a friend of mine and your reading this you’ll understand that the mental health breakdown that occurred the weekend before last was due to a variety of factors but it was good that it happened. Everything that happens to me is.

For those I don’t know reading this, all you need to know is I fell for a week or thereabouts. I then got up as I always have done. A week of escalating events caused the collapse but hey I’m still here, still training still wanting to fight again and still keeping focused with everything I do. I love helping others. I always have done and I always will do. It’s rewarding and I can’t wait to get back to it.

On the 25th of this month I delivered a pretty much killer speech on the Anniversary of the murder of George Floyd on behalf of the independent community police monitoring group I set up over a year ago Bristol Copwatch We’re a good team. I keep saying we’re a good team to reinforce my trust in them from the 5th of this month onwards. Being honest, I just need to have a rest for a couple of months. I’ve not had a rest in over a year. I burnt out spectacularly but like a Phoenix from the ashes I’m rising again.

Despite this and everything in between, the speech I delivered went straight for the police’s jugular and tore it the fuck out. After I finished I felt bigger inside. It was just like the first time I stepped in a ring. We’ve done a lot of important work over the past year. We’ll be here for many years to come.

Despite having a lot to deal with at present I’ve found my biggest release has been Thai boxing. Every time I train there’s noise. I start training the noise decides to leave. This week there’s less noise. There’s peace filled silence and I hope it comes with me to the gym tomorrow onwards.

A friend once said “Look how tall you walk”, you know what? I’m learning to walk taller.

Training may be therapy for me right now but of late I’ve learnt that there’s some serious baggage that’s being carried from past relationships and other issues that I really need to address over the next couple of months. Even writing these words is part of my process of self healing. I need a band aid and I think that band aid isn’t just martial arts.

I’ve been in relationship shut down mode for a while because I’ve focused my energy into community activism, training and work. I’ve let work fall to the way side because at points I’ve just not had the energy to balance both that and building a community organisation from the ground up.

I’ve spent so much time focusing on helping others I’ve forgotten to help me and have plowed ahead soaking up everything thrown at me like an unbreakable sponge. But I do break. I’ve broken before and I get up again and keep going. On this rebound, I’ve decided to work on the areas of my life that need to be worked on and enjoyed to the full before I generically carry on as normal.

My wager is that martial arts will once again play a big part of helping me recover and heal. Muay Thai has a way of bringing out the best in me. It can’t however, be all I do in my spare time. I don’t want to be alone and miss having a partner. As a paradox, relationships still terrify me as does settling down and having kids. I just want to be me and have fun.

It feels good just writing these words today. It feels that I’ve already stepped into the same room as my fear and shaken it firmly by the hand, it feels that I’ve put my arms round it’s shoulders and told it I love it but now it has to go. Just recently my head coach David told me if I still want to fight for his gym I have to be a different John. ” I want to see a different John” he said. This summer I think I’m going to finally meet that guy. The journey ahead may be a long one but it’s absolutely worth every minute. Here’s to the adventure and just like the last time, I’ll see you on that road.

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